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Piracy Your Rights Online

Suppressed Report Shows Pirates Are Good Customers 291

An anonymous reader writes "The movie and music industry think pirates are criminals and parasites who cost both industries billions of dollars in lost sales. In order to prove this fact a number of studies have been commissioned to help demonstrate the effect a pirate has on sales of entertainment. GfK Group is one of the largest market research companies in the world and is often used by the movie industry to carry out research and studies into piracy. Talking to a source within GfK who wished to remain anonymous, Telepolis found that a recent study looking at pirates and their purchasing activities found them to be almost the complete opposite of the criminal parasites the entertainment industry want them to be. The study states that it is much more typical for a pirate to download an illegal copy of a movie to try it before purchasing. They are also found to purchase more DVDs than the average consumer, and they visit the movie theater more, especially for opening weekend releases which typically cost more to attend."
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Suppressed Report Shows Pirates Are Good Customers

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  • First to say (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:20PM (#36829164)

    The MPAA/RIAA lying about stats to justify unjust laws? Never.

  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:20PM (#36829166)

    They also lie on surveys about pirating and purchasing.

  • No big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:22PM (#36829178)
    When you can't deny the information any longer, you switch to discrediting it. Fighting truth is just a cost of business for the entertainment industry.
  • by ccguy ( 1116865 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:22PM (#36829182) Homepage
    I often download the first season of TV shows, and then buy the blu-ray of the rest - which I have to ship from a different continent because they won't sell them in my country. Well, they often don't air the TV shows here (in any channel), and of course web access is country restricted.

    So I go out of my way to pay. If you still think I'm a pirate, fuck off.
  • Hardly Surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sinthet ( 2081954 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:30PM (#36829248)

    People who torrent lots of media tend to enjoy being consumers of media. Many want to support artists but love the convenience P2P gives them, so they utilize it to try products and then support the artists they think deserve funds by purchasing DVDs/CDs/Games, or they simply want a physical copy as a result of wanting to collect things.

    I'm not discounting that some pirates are purely leeches however. There's no reason to believe that all pirates are so generous, just that it makes pretty good sense that a majority are willing to pay for quality entertainment. Hell, I've purchased each volume of MegaTokyo religiously since picking up the first one randomly in a bookstore, regardless of the fact that the comics are all available for free online (And not illegally either).

  • half agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:35PM (#36829302) Homepage Journal

    "The movie and music industry think pirates are criminals and parasites who cost both industries billions of dollars in lost sales.

    No, and yes.

    They aren't the idiots that they play themselves to be, that are blindly trying to sue everyone and don't understand how things should work. They are completely aware of the situation, and understand that they are playing the game in the most profitable way possible, and have absolutely no reason to change their ways.

    But yes they do recognize pirates (and customers, and little green men, and everyone else on and off the planet) as a threat to their bottom line, and will take any action they can find that will further to maximize their profit. Be it legal or illegal, moral or immoral, sensible or nonsense. They'll run the numbers and follow the compass to the $outh, past whatever it leads them through.

    Can't blame them really. They're experts at their job, and I'm sure their shareholders would agree, they're doing quite well at their job. (otherwise they'd have been fired long ago)

  • Re:half agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BJ_Covert_Action ( 1499847 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:52PM (#36829488) Homepage Journal

    Can't blame them really. They're experts at their job, and I'm sure their shareholders would agree, they're doing quite well at their job.

    They hell I can't! If they were robotic automatons that were preprogrammed with the single goal of generating a metric fuckton of profit for their shareholders and that were lacking the free will to reevaluate their values, then you would be correct, I couldn't blame them.

    However, the record companies are not run by robotic automatons. They are run by humans and, quite frankly, as human beings, they should have the cognitive capacity to understand complex mental abstractions such as morality, healthy social balance, empathy, and temperance. Trying to earn a profit is not a morally corrupt quest. Trying to earn a profit at the expense and livlihood of your fellow human beings, and at the disruption of the society that you, yourself, are part of is downright stupid, if not flagrantly evil.

    So you bet your ass I can and will blame these lying, piss-poor pieces of shit that were raised with such a moral apathy that they hardly even resemble a shell of what a thinking, intelligent, contributing member of this species is.

    You may think it is okay to be an apologist for sociopaths, but I, personally, hold my fellow human beings to higher standards than that if they are going to continue calling themselves human.

  • Re:Some Notes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @06:56PM (#36829530)

    Maybe the economy has more to do with that then piracy. Also legal methods of watching movies as well. I don't buy movies now that I have netflix unless I really love them. In the past I did not buy many movies, certainly less than I spend on netflix. This means while I might be spending less on DVDs I am spending more on entertainment.

  • by MysteriousPreacher ( 702266 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @07:12PM (#36829686) Journal

    No, but you may get modded down for excessive use of hyperbole in a public place. Who is this Slashdot you speak of?

    Piracy does affect artists, but then so do the dubious actions of record companies. It's difficult to appreciate an impact though on artists when their slice of music sales is typically so low that record deals become more about trying to build enough popularity to earn enough from merchandise and touring. Piracy hurts artists, but it hurts everyone else in the chain far more. Unlike this curious Mr. Slashdot I don't think that all piracy is good. I instead opt to buy far fewer discs than I did in the past. DRM fucks up my ability to enjoy the content I buy, and money given is being used against me in the belief that I am by default a criminal. I'd rather buy from indies and go gigging. If I buy a DVD I cant rip then it's returned as faulty to the store.

    You're flamebait, and also a dick for playing the martyr to the mods card. Despite appearances to the contrary, it's dicks that are not welcome here.

  • by Cederic ( 9623 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @07:13PM (#36829700) Journal

    Conveniently, the artists who aren't getting paid are left out of that equation, because they're a reminder that piracy has a negative effect, which dismantles the ideology that pirates are the good guys.

    Which part of "people that pirate spend more on media" leads you to believe that piracy has a negative effect?

    Are you suggesting that the extra revenue generated from pirates isn't reaching the artists? I'm not sure that would be attributable to the pirates, in their role of consumers.

    Shit, you'll get modded down because you're spouting illogical bullshit, and that's something the Slashdot community picks up on, not because you're anti-piracy. Many people on Slashdot dislike freeloaders; it just happens that many more recognise the reality that there isn't a binary situation here, and that (as recognised in the survey) people that consume more media will pay more for it, even if they don't pay for all of it.

  • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @07:22PM (#36829792) Homepage

    Lying is irrelevant if the study is decent and asks for proof of purchase, like this did [guardian.co.uk].

  • Re:No big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by another_twilight ( 585366 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @07:31PM (#36829886)

    While I think a lot of the anti-piracy stance of the media groups is still driven by the assumption that piracy hurts sales, demonising pirates has turned into a great way to justify a kind of balkanisation of the market.

    Regional restrictions allow them to sell the same product at the price that the local market will bear without diluting the higher markets with product sold in the lower.

    Encryption and laws against circumventing it that are supposed to stop piracy also act to stop you buying one copy of something and then transcoding it to the form most useful to you.

    Ultimately, the cost of distribution for purely digital material is drastically smaller than for physical items, but media companies are still claiming costs for breakages associated with LPs in the CD age. If they can blame 'pirates' then they don't have to let competition drive the price of a digital copy down to reflect the reduced cost of distribution.

    It's oddly long-sighted of them. They have a monopoly and are fighting to keep it that way. This isn't about short term profit. It's about keeping control of the entire profit-making industry.
  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @08:10PM (#36830212) Journal

    They didn't have the WB when Buffy was on and frankly hearing the description (a comedy horror based on a bad movie with a soap star and the Taster's Choice guy?) I would have NEVER bough so much as a single DVD but there was enough good word of mouth I said WTF and downloaded the first two episodes. I ended up hooked and now have the entire Joss Whedon collection, Angel, Buffy and Firefly with a couple of BtVS collectibles my late sister got me for bookends.

    I probably spent a good $500 on that and I wouldn't have spent a dime if it weren't for piracy. Also after getting burned by several games where the damned things wouldn't run even when I was waaaay over the specs and finding the demo is usually the ONLY level they do real serious QA on (I'm looking at you Max Payne) I will always download the game first to make sure it will actually play before plunking the cash. If it doesn't? Bye bye. I want all the features like MP so I buy the ones that run that aren't shit (and I don't play shit so they don't even last as long as the demo on my drive).

    So these figures really don't surprise me. It really doesn't take getting burned too many times before you want to try before you buy. No way to have a real trial? No sale for me. Sadly though I would argue that no matter what you do they'll claim piracy as their little PPTs say if they made X last year then they should make X*Y simply because they are just wonderful and geniuses.

    Mark my words as piracy goes down thanks to plenty of online choices like Netflix when they see their sales don't suddenly spike and give them ever increasing profits? First they'll blame the darknets, it is a scary sounding word and they don't have to prove shit and it will let them ram more draconian BS laws through, then if they keep slipping they'll just have themselves declared "too big to fail" and take the money directly out of your pockets though bribery of congress critters.

  • Pirates (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:24PM (#36831074) Homepage

    Can we please stop calling people who engage in copyright infringement pirates?

    Real pirates are scum who need to be wiped off the planet.
    Copyright infringers are breaking one or more laws in certain jurisdictions, and their moral status is more of a gray area.

  • Re:And... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by billcopc ( 196330 ) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday July 21, 2011 @02:32AM (#36832052) Homepage

    I know one person doesn't make a majority, but I would not be running a label and partering with two others if not for all the a.b.mp3 floods and multi-gigabyte "best of $genre" torrents. There is simply no way the mainstream media could have turned me onto 99% of what I listen to. Fifteen years ago I got all my music news from radio and TV, so you can imagine how awful my selection was. My only reprieve back then was the university radio stations that prided themselves on playing the weirdest niches of electronic and experimental music. Then one day, I downloaded a Slayer album. I didn't really know who they were, but the dumb thing grew on me. Now I'm a huge metalhead, I even have Slayer on vinyl, plus about 550 other artists of all genres, including a big chunk of Scandinavian metal. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe they play any Katatonia, Pagan's Mind or even Ayreon on MTV.

    Had it not been for some altruistic soul on Usenet, posting his personal toplist for everyone to sample, I would never have heard of any of those acts, and if it weren't for online music stores, I would never have found copies to buy. Perhaps most importantly, I would never have attended any of those bands' concerts, and I sure as shit would not have nurtured the passion to launch a not-really-profitable business promoting indie bands beyond the local scene. Having access to that variety of music is what turned an idle hobby into an obsession.

    My music spending before piracy: $10/month for one odd techno CD.
    My music spending after piracy: $500/month for an artist's back catalogue, a concert ticket + travel, and a dozen open mic nights at the local bars. I'm not even counting all the hours I invest into my protégés.

    The problem is the RIAA probably doesn't see much of that $500, because it's often going to indie bands, small online stores, or foreign dealers for the hard-to-find stuff. The RIAA simply does not sell a product I wish to buy, not even consume for free. I swear, if I hear that stupid J.Lo Lambada rip-off one more time !@^&#!@

  • Re:First to say (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardpriceNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday July 21, 2011 @03:42AM (#36832338)

    How are the laws unjust? The piracy is still happening, the fact that the pirates also buy stuff shouldn't be a mitigating factor.

    Its up to the rights holder to decide if the piracy is something they can live with or not, not you or I - although its great fun watching people try to justify it on Slashdot...

    Also, the entire basis for this story is "an anonymous person says..." - thats great, a fantastic headline with no way to corroborate it at all.

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur